Florida Senate - 2015              PROPOSED COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE
       Bill No. SB 320
       Proposed Committee Substitute by the Committee on Fiscal Policy
       (Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services)
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to adoption and foster care; amending
    3         s. 39.0016, F.S.; revising what the Department of
    4         Children and Families must do when required to enter
    5         into agreements with specified entities; amending s.
    6         39.812, F.S.; requiring the agency or community-based
    7         care agency to visit in person or contact by telephone
    8         the child and the child’s adoptive family 1 year after
    9         the date the adoption is finalized; amending s.
   10         409.145, F.S.; revising caregiver roles and
   11         responsibilities; revising the roles and
   12         responsibilities of the department, the community
   13         based care lead agency, and other agency staff;
   14         creating s. 409.1662, F.S.; providing the purpose of
   15         the adoption incentive program; directing the
   16         Department of Children and Families to establish an
   17         adoption incentive program for certain agencies and
   18         subcontractors; requiring that the department conduct
   19         a comprehensive baseline assessment of lead agencies
   20         and provider performance and compile annual data for
   21         the most recent 5 years of available data; providing a
   22         nonexclusive list of factors for the assessment to
   23         identify; requiring that the department negotiate an
   24         outcome-based agreement; requiring that several
   25         factors be included in the agreement; requiring the
   26         department to allocate incentive payments; creating s.
   27         409.1664, F.S.; defining terms; providing certain
   28         amounts payable to a qualifying adoptive employee who
   29         adopts specified children under certain circumstances
   30         subject to a specific appropriation to the department;
   31         providing prorated payments for a part-time employee
   32         and limiting the monetary benefit to one award per
   33         child; requiring that a qualifying adoptive employee
   34         apply to the agency head for the monetary benefit on
   35         forms approved by the department and include a
   36         certified copy of the final order of adoption;
   37         providing that the rights offered by this act do not
   38         preclude a qualifying adoptive employee who adopts a
   39         special needs child to receive any other assistance or
   40         incentive; requiring that parental leave for
   41         qualifying adoptive employees be provided; requiring
   42         the department to adopt rules; requiring the Chief
   43         Financial Officer to submit payment to a qualifying
   44         adoptive employee depending on where he or she works;
   45         requiring state agencies to develop uniform procedures
   46         for informing employees about this benefit and for
   47         assisting the department in making eligibility
   48         determinations and processing applications; creating
   49         s. 409.1666, F.S.; requiring the Governor to annually
   50         select and recognize certain individuals, families, or
   51         organizations for adoption achievement awards;
   52         requiring the department to define categories for the
   53         achievement awards and seek nominations for potential
   54         recipients; authorizing a direct-support organization
   55         established by the Office of Adoption and Child
   56         Protection to accept donations of products or services
   57         from private sources to be given to the recipients of
   58         the adoption achievement awards; amending s. 409.175,
   59         F.S.; requiring licensed child-placing agencies
   60         providing adoption services for intercountry adoptions
   61         to meet specified requirements; requiring an adoption
   62         agency in this state which provides certain services
   63         to maintain records with specified information;
   64         providing appropriations; providing an effective date.
   66  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   68         Section 1. Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) of section
   69  39.0016, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   70         39.0016 Education of abused, neglected, and abandoned
   71  children; agency agreements; children having or suspected of
   72  having a disability.—
   73         (2) AGENCY AGREEMENTS.—
   74         (b) The department shall enter into agreements with
   75  district school boards or other local educational entities
   76  regarding education and related services for children known to
   77  the department who are of school age and children known to the
   78  department who are younger than school age but who would
   79  otherwise qualify for services from the district school board.
   80  Such agreements shall include, but are not limited to:
   81         1. A requirement that the department shall:
   82         a. Ensure Enroll children known to the department are
   83  enrolled in school or in the best educational setting that meets
   84  the needs of the child. The agreement shall provide for
   85  continuing the enrollment of a child known to the department at
   86  the same school of origin when, if possible if it is in the best
   87  interest of the child, with the goal of minimal avoiding
   88  disruption of education.
   89         b. Notify the school and school district in which a child
   90  known to the department is enrolled of the name and phone number
   91  of the child known to the department caregiver and caseworker
   92  for child safety purposes.
   93         c. Establish a protocol for the department to share
   94  information about a child known to the department with the
   95  school district, consistent with the Family Educational Rights
   96  and Privacy Act, since the sharing of information will assist
   97  each agency in obtaining education and related services for the
   98  benefit of the child. The protocol must require the district
   99  school boards or other local educational entities to access the
  100  department’s Florida Safe Families Network to obtain information
  101  about children known to the department, consistent with the
  102  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. s.
  103  1232g.
  104         d. Notify the school district of the department’s case
  105  planning for a child known to the department, both at the time
  106  of plan development and plan review. Within the plan development
  107  or review process, the school district may provide information
  108  regarding the child known to the department if the school
  109  district deems it desirable and appropriate.
  110         e. Show no prejudice against out-of-home caregivers who
  111  desire to educate at home any children placed in their home
  112  through the child welfare system.
  113         2. A requirement that the district school board shall:
  114         a. Provide the department with a general listing of the
  115  services and information available from the district school
  116  board to facilitate educational access for a child known to the
  117  department.
  118         b. Identify all educational and other services provided by
  119  the school and school district which the school district
  120  believes are reasonably necessary to meet the educational needs
  121  of a child known to the department.
  122         c. Determine whether transportation is available for a
  123  child known to the department when such transportation will
  124  avoid a change in school assignment due to a change in
  125  residential placement. Recognizing that continued enrollment in
  126  the same school throughout the time the child known to the
  127  department is in out-of-home care is preferable unless
  128  enrollment in the same school would be unsafe or otherwise
  129  impractical, the department, the district school board, and the
  130  Department of Education shall assess the availability of
  131  federal, charitable, or grant funding for such transportation.
  132         d. Provide individualized student intervention or an
  133  individual educational plan when a determination has been made
  134  through legally appropriate criteria that intervention services
  135  are required. The intervention or individual educational plan
  136  must include strategies to enable the child known to the
  137  department to maximize the attainment of educational goals.
  138         3. A requirement that the department and the district
  139  school board shall cooperate in accessing the services and
  140  supports needed for a child known to the department who has or
  141  is suspected of having a disability to receive an appropriate
  142  education consistent with the Individuals with Disabilities
  143  Education Act and state implementing laws, rules, and
  144  assurances. Coordination of services for a child known to the
  145  department who has or is suspected of having a disability may
  146  include:
  147         a. Referral for screening.
  148         b. Sharing of evaluations between the school district and
  149  the department where appropriate.
  150         c. Provision of education and related services appropriate
  151  for the needs and abilities of the child known to the
  152  department.
  153         d. Coordination of services and plans between the school
  154  and the residential setting to avoid duplication or conflicting
  155  service plans.
  156         e. Appointment of a surrogate parent, consistent with the
  157  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and pursuant to
  158  subsection (3), for educational purposes for a child known to
  159  the department who qualifies.
  160         f. For each child known to the department 14 years of age
  161  and older, transition planning by the department and all
  162  providers, including the department’s independent living program
  163  staff, to meet the requirements of the local school district for
  164  educational purposes.
  165         Section 2. Subsection (6) is added to section 39.812,
  166  Florida Statutes, to read:
  167         39.812 Postdisposition relief; petition for adoption.—
  168         (6) Once a child’s adoption is finalized, the agency or
  169  community-based care agency is required to visit in person or
  170  contact by telephone the child and his or her adoptive family 1
  171  year after the date of finalization as a post-adoption service.
  172  If the child and family have relocated to another state, the
  173  agency must contact the family by telephone as a post-adoption
  174  service.
  175         Section 3. Subsection (2) of section 409.145, Florida
  176  Statutes, is amended to read:
  177         409.145 Care of children; quality parenting; “reasonable
  178  and prudent parent” standard.—The child welfare system of the
  179  department shall operate as a coordinated community-based system
  180  of care which empowers all caregivers for children in foster
  181  care to provide quality parenting, including approving or
  182  disapproving a child’s participation in activities based on the
  183  caregiver’s assessment using the “reasonable and prudent parent”
  184  standard.
  185         (2) QUALITY PARENTING.—A child in foster care shall be
  186  placed only with a caregiver who has the ability to care for the
  187  child, is willing to accept responsibility for providing care,
  188  and is willing and able to learn about and be respectful of the
  189  child’s culture, religion and ethnicity, special physical or
  190  psychological needs, any circumstances unique to the child, and
  191  family relationships. The department, the community-based care
  192  lead agency, and other agencies shall provide such caregiver
  193  with all available information necessary to assist the caregiver
  194  in determining whether he or she is able to appropriately care
  195  for a particular child.
  196         (a) Roles and responsibilities of caregivers.—A caregiver
  197  shall:
  198         1. Participate in developing the case plan for the child
  199  and his or her family and work with others involved in his or
  200  her care to implement this plan. This participation includes the
  201  caregiver’s involvement in all team meetings or court hearings
  202  related to the child’s care.
  203         2. Complete all training needed to improve skills in
  204  parenting a child who has experienced trauma due to neglect,
  205  abuse, or separation from home, to meet the child’s special
  206  needs, and to work effectively with child welfare agencies, the
  207  court, the schools, and other community and governmental
  208  agencies.
  209         3. Respect and support the child’s ties to members of his
  210  or her biological family and assist the child in maintaining
  211  allowable visitation and other forms of communication.
  212         4. Effectively advocate for the child in the caregiver’s
  213  care with the child welfare system, the court, and community
  214  agencies, including the school, child care, health and mental
  215  health providers, and employers.
  216         5. Participate fully in the child’s medical, psychological,
  217  and dental care as the caregiver would for his or her biological
  218  child.
  219         6. Support the child’s educational school success by
  220  participating in school activities and meetings associated with
  221  the child’s school or other educational setting, including
  222  Individual Education Plan meetings and meetings with an
  223  educational surrogate if one has been appointed, assisting with
  224  school assignments, supporting tutoring programs, meeting with
  225  teachers and working with an educational surrogate if one has
  226  been appointed, and encouraging the child’s participation in
  227  extracurricular activities.
  228         a.Maintaining educational stability for a child while in
  229  out-of-home care by allowing the child to remain in the school
  230  or educational setting he or she attended before entry into out
  231  of-home care is the first priority, unless it is not in the best
  232  interest of the child.
  233         b.If it is not in the best interest of the child to remain
  234  in his or her school or educational setting upon entry into out
  235  of-home care, the caregiver must work with the case manager,
  236  guardian ad litem, teachers and guidance counselors, and
  237  educational surrogate if one has been appointed, to determine
  238  the best educational setting for the child. Those settings may
  239  include a public school that is not the school of origin, a
  240  private school pursuant to s. 1002.42, virtual education
  241  programs pursuant to s. 1002.45, or education at home pursuant
  242  to s. 1002.41.
  243         7. Work in partnership with other stakeholders to obtain
  244  and maintain records that are important to the child’s well
  245  being, including child resource records, medical records, school
  246  records, photographs, and records of special events and
  247  achievements.
  248         8. Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care who is
  249  between 13 and 17 years of age learns and masters independent
  250  living skills.
  251         9. Ensure that the child in the caregiver’s care is aware
  252  of the requirements and benefits of the Road-to-Independence
  253  Program.
  254         10. Work to enable the child in the caregiver’s care to
  255  establish and maintain naturally occurring mentoring
  256  relationships.
  257         (b) Roles and responsibilities of the department, the
  258  community-based care lead agency, and other agency staff.—The
  259  department, the community-based care lead agency, and other
  260  agency staff shall:
  261         1. Include a caregiver in the development and
  262  implementation of the case plan for the child and his or her
  263  family. The caregiver shall be authorized to participate in all
  264  team meetings or court hearings related to the child’s care and
  265  future plans. The caregiver’s participation shall be facilitated
  266  through timely notification, an inclusive process, and
  267  alternative methods for participation for a caregiver who cannot
  268  be physically present.
  269         2. Develop and make available to the caregiver the
  270  information, services, training, and support that the caregiver
  271  needs to improve his or her skills in parenting children who
  272  have experienced trauma due to neglect, abuse, or separation
  273  from home, to meet these children’s special needs, and to
  274  advocate effectively with child welfare agencies, the courts,
  275  schools, and other community and governmental agencies.
  276         3. Provide the caregiver with all information related to
  277  services and other benefits that are available to the child.
  278         4. Show no prejudice against a caregiver who desires to
  279  educate at home any children placed in his or her home through
  280  the child welfare system.
  281         (c) Transitions.—
  282         1. Once a caregiver accepts the responsibility of caring
  283  for a child, the child will be removed from the home of that
  284  caregiver only if:
  285         a. The caregiver is clearly unable to safely or legally
  286  care for the child;
  287         b. The child and his or her biological family are
  288  reunified;
  289         c. The child is being placed in a legally permanent home
  290  pursuant to the case plan or a court order; or
  291         d. The removal is demonstrably in the child’s best
  292  interest.
  293         2. In the absence of an emergency, if a child leaves the
  294  caregiver’s home for a reason provided under subparagraph 1.,
  295  the transition must be accomplished according to a plan that
  296  involves cooperation and sharing of information among all
  297  persons involved, respects the child’s developmental stage and
  298  psychological needs, ensures the child has all of his or her
  299  belongings, allows for a gradual transition from the caregiver’s
  300  home and, if possible, for continued contact with the caregiver
  301  after the child leaves.
  302         (d) Information sharing.—Whenever a foster home or
  303  residential group home assumes responsibility for the care of a
  304  child, the department and any additional providers shall make
  305  available to the caregiver as soon as is practicable all
  306  relevant information concerning the child. Records and
  307  information that are required to be shared with caregivers
  308  include, but are not limited to:
  309         1. Medical, dental, psychological, psychiatric, and
  310  behavioral history, as well as ongoing evaluation or treatment
  311  needs;
  312         2. School records;
  313         3. Copies of his or her birth certificate and, if
  314  appropriate, immigration status documents;
  315         4. Consents signed by parents;
  316         5. Comprehensive behavioral assessments and other social
  317  assessments;
  318         6. Court orders;
  319         7. Visitation and case plans;
  320         8. Guardian ad litem reports;
  321         9. Staffing forms; and
  322         10. Judicial or citizen review panel reports and
  323  attachments filed with the court, except confidential medical,
  324  psychiatric, and psychological information regarding any party
  325  or participant other than the child.
  326         (e) Caregivers employed by residential group homes.—All
  327  caregivers in residential group homes shall meet the same
  328  education, training, and background and other screening
  329  requirements as foster parents.
  330         Section 4. Section 409.1662, Florida Statutes, is created
  331  to read:
  332         409.1662 Children within the child welfare system; adoption
  333  incentive program.—
  334         (1) PURPOSE.—The purpose of the adoption incentive program
  335  is to advance the state’s achievement of permanency and
  336  stability in living arrangements for children in foster care who
  337  cannot be reunited with their families. The department shall
  338  establish the adoption incentive program to award incentive
  339  payment to community-based care lead agencies, as defined in s.
  340  409.986, and their subcontractors that are involved in the
  341  adoption process for achievement of specific and measureable
  342  adoption performance standards.
  344         (a) The department shall conduct a comprehensive baseline
  345  assessment of the performance of lead agencies and providers
  346  related to adoption of children from foster care. The assessment
  347  shall compile annual data for each of the most recent 5 years
  348  for which data is available. At a minimum, the assessment shall
  349  identify:
  350         1. The number of families attempting to adopt children from
  351  foster care and the number of families completing the adoption
  352  process.
  353         2. The number of children eligible for adoption and the
  354  number of children whose adoptions were finalized.
  355         3.The amount of time eligible children waited for
  356  adoption.
  357         4. The number of adoptions that resulted in disruption or
  358  dissolution and the subset of those disrupted adoptions that
  359  were preventable by the lead agency or the subcontracted
  360  provider.
  361         5. The time taken to complete each phase of the adoption
  362  process.
  363         6. The expenditures made to recruit adoptive homes and a
  364  description of any initiative to improve adoption performance or
  365  streamline the adoption process.
  366         7. The results of any specific effort to gather feedback
  367  from prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents.
  368         (b)Using the information from the baseline assessment, the
  369  department shall negotiate an outcome-based agreement with lead
  370  agencies and their subcontracted providers that are involved in
  371  the adoption process. The agreement shall establish measureable
  372  outcome targets, define the method for measuring performance and
  373  for determining the level of performance required to earn the
  374  incentive payment, and the amount of the incentive payment which
  375  may be earned for each target. The department shall update the
  376  assessment annually.
  377         (3) INCENTIVE PAYMENTS.—
  378         (a) The department shall allocate incentive payments to
  379  performance improvement targets in a manner that ensures that
  380  total payments do not exceed the amount appropriated for this
  381  purpose.
  382         (b) The department shall ensure that the amount of the
  383  incentive payments are proportionate to the value of the
  384  performance improvement.
  385         Section 5. Section 409.1664, Florida Statutes, is created
  386  to read:
  387         409.1664 Adoption benefits for qualifying adoptive
  388  employees of state agencies.—
  389         (1) As used in this section, the term:
  390         (a) “Child within the child welfare system” has the same
  391  meaning as in s. 409.166.
  392         (b) “Qualifying adoptive employee” means a full-time or
  393  part-time employee of a state agency who is paid from regular
  394  salary appropriations, or otherwise meets the state agency
  395  employer’s definition of a regular rather than temporary
  396  employee, and who adopts a child within the child welfare system
  397  pursuant to chapter 63 on or after January 1, 2015. The term
  398  includes instructional personnel, as defined in s. 1012.01,
  399  employed by the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind.
  400         (c) “State agency” means a branch, department, or agency of
  401  state government for which the Chief Financial Officer processes
  402  payroll requisitions, a state university or Florida College
  403  System institution as defined in s. 1000.21, a school district
  404  unit as defined in s. 1001.30, or a water management district as
  405  defined in s. 373.019.
  406         (2) A qualifying adoptive employee that adopts a child
  407  within the child welfare system who has additional special needs
  408  as described in s. 409.166 is eligible to receive a lump-sum
  409  monetary benefit in the amount of $10,000 per child within the
  410  child welfare system, subject to applicable taxes. A qualifying
  411  adoptive employee that adopts a child within the child welfare
  412  system who has no additional special needs as described in s.
  413  409.166 is eligible to receive a lump-sum monetary benefit in
  414  the amount of $5,000 per child within the child welfare system,
  415  subject to applicable taxes.
  416         (a) Benefits paid to a qualifying adoptive employee who is
  417  a part-time employee must be prorated based on the qualifying
  418  adoptive employee’s full-time equivalency at the time of
  419  applying for the benefits.
  420         (b) Monetary benefits are limited to one award per adopted
  421  child within the child welfare system.
  422         (c) The payment of a lump-sum monetary benefit for adopting
  423  a child within the child welfare system under this section is
  424  subject to a specific appropriation to the department for such
  425  purpose.
  426         (3) A qualifying adoptive employee must apply to his or her
  427  agency head to obtain the monetary benefit provided in
  428  subsection (2). Applications must be on forms approved by the
  429  department and must include a certified copy of the final order
  430  of adoption naming the applicant as the adoptive parent.
  431         (4) This section does not affect the right of any
  432  qualifying adoptive employee who adopts a special needs child
  433  that is not a child within the child welfare system to receive
  434  adoption assistance under s. 409.166 or any other statute that
  435  provides financial incentives for the adoption of children.
  436         (5) Parental leave for a qualifying adoptive employee must
  437  be provided in accordance with the personnel policies and
  438  procedures of the employee’s state agency employer.
  439         (6) The department shall adopt rules to administer this
  440  section. The rules may provide for an application process such
  441  as, but not limited to, an open enrollment period during which
  442  qualifying adoptive employees may apply for monetary benefits
  443  under this section.
  444         (7) The Chief Financial Officer shall disburse a monetary
  445  benefit to a qualifying adoptive employee upon the department’s
  446  submission of a payroll requisition. The Chief Financial Officer
  447  shall transfer funds from the department to a state university,
  448  Florida College System institution, school district unit, or
  449  water management district, as appropriate, to enable payment to
  450  the qualifying adoptive employee through the payroll systems as
  451  long as funds are available for such purpose.
  452         (8) Each state agency shall develop a uniform procedure for
  453  informing employees about this benefit and for assisting the
  454  department in making eligibility determinations and processing
  455  applications. Any procedure adopted by a state agency is valid
  456  and enforceable if the procedure does not conflict with the
  457  express terms of this section.
  458         Section 6. Section 409.1666, Florida Statutes, is created
  459  to read:
  460         409.1666 Annual adoption achievement awards.—Each year, the
  461  Governor shall select and recognize one or more individuals,
  462  families, or organizations that make significant contributions
  463  to enabling this state’s foster children to achieve permanency
  464  through adoption. The department shall define appropriate
  465  categories for the achievement awards and seek nominations for
  466  potential recipients in each category from individuals and
  467  organizations knowledgeable about foster care and adoption.
  468         (1) The award shall recognize persons whose contributions
  469  involve extraordinary effort or personal sacrifice in order to
  470  provide caring and permanent homes for foster children.
  471         (2) A direct-support organization established in accordance
  472  with s. 39.0011 by the Office of Adoption and Child Protection
  473  within the Executive Office of the Governor may accept donations
  474  of products or services from private sources to be given to the
  475  recipients of the adoption achievement awards. The direct
  476  support organization may also provide suitable plaques, framed
  477  certificates, pins, and other tokens of recognition.
  478         Section 7. Subsection (18) is added to section 409.175,
  479  Florida Statutes, to read:
  480         409.175 Licensure of family foster homes, residential
  481  child-caring agencies, and child-placing agencies; public
  482  records exemption.—
  483         (18)(a) A licensed child-placing agency conducting
  484  intercountry adoptions must be designated by the United States
  485  Department of State as an accrediting entity for intercountry
  486  adoption services.
  487         (b)A licensed child-placing agency providing adoption
  488  services for intercountry adoption in Hague Convention
  489  countries, in incoming or outgoing cases, must meet the federal
  490  regulations pertaining to intercountry adoptions with convention
  491  countries.
  492         (c)An adoption agency in this state which provides
  493  intercountry adoption services for families residing in this
  494  state must maintain a record that contains, at a minimum, the
  495  following:
  496         1.All available family and medical history of the birth
  497  family;
  498         2.All legal documents translated into English;
  499         3.All necessary documents obtained by the adoptive parent
  500  in order for the child to attain United States citizenship, or
  501  if applicable, other legal immigration status; and
  502         4. All supervisory reports prepared before an adoption and
  503  after the finalization of an adoption.
  504         Section 8. For the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the sum of $6.5
  505  million in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund is
  506  appropriated to the Department of Children and Families for the
  507  creation of the adoption incentive program. The Executive Office
  508  of the Governor shall place these funds in reserve until such
  509  time as the Department of Children and Families submits a plan
  510  identifying the performance measures, targeted outcomes, and an
  511  expenditure plan for approval to the Executive Office of the
  512  Governor and the chair and vice chair of the Legislative Budget
  513  Commission in accordance with s. 216.177, Florida Statutes.
  514         Section 9. For the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the sum of
  515  $3,425,356 in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund is
  516  appropriated to the Department of Children and Families for the
  517  creation of the adoption benefits for qualifying adoptive
  518  employees of state agencies. For the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the
  519  sum of $74,644 in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund
  520  is appropriated to the Department of Children and Families and
  521  one full-time equivalent position with associated salary rate of
  522  46,382 is authorized for the creation of the adoption benefits
  523  for qualifying adoptive employees of state agencies and the
  524  development of performance measures and targeted outcomes.
  525         Section 10. This act shall take effect July 1, 2015.